Episode 217: There & Back Again

Release Date: Nov. 9 , 2015

Running Time:   164 min.

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The road goes ever on and on. We talk about three trips in this episode.

One physical - a travelogue of our recent trip to Essen.

One fictional - a review of Lord of the Rings: Journey to Mordor.

And one psychological - a review of ...and then we held hands.

The travelogue features segments on the International Game Fair at Essen, driving up a mountain in a Tesla, and a jewelry heist via an escape room.

Lord of the Rings: Journey to Mordor is a light dice game aimed at families with some fun player interaction. Be the first to guide your hobbit and the ring to Mount Doom before the Nazgul. 

...and then we held hands is an innovative card driven board game about a couple trying to save their relationship. You play together using cards from both hands to navigate toward the center of the board, trying to stay emotionally balanced. And here's the twist - you cannot talk about the game at all while you play.  You dance with and around you partner trying to anticipate his or her next move, hoping to keep the game from locking up, thus bringing your relationship to an impasse.

News & Notes: Spiel-a-thon, Tokyo Game Market, Dresden Files 
Travelogue: An account of our 10 days in Essen
The List: Lord of the Rings: Journey to Mordor, ...and then we held hands

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - Amigo

Release Date: Oct. 23 2015

Running Time:  21 min.

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German publisher Amigo Spiele has catalog full of games that appeal to a wide audience of players. Seeing the red Amigo logo today means easy to learn, fresh gameplay and, most important, fun.

Editors Uwe and Christian join us to chat about several titles that embrace this philosophy.

A new deluxe edition the classic Elfenland includes the base game plus expansions and a new board. PLayers try to visit as many cities across the realm using fantastic methods of transportation including dragons, whales, pigs and trolls. 

Gipfelsturmer is a game from Friedemann Friese. Players roll dice combinations to push their wooden capricorns (ok, they're really goats) up different paths to the top of the mountain.

Roman Poker is a dice game from noted game historian and designer David Parlett. Players roll roman numeral dice to fill out a score sheet. The twist is your rolls must always form a valid roman numeral or you bust.

The Portal of Molthar is a card game where players travel into a world known through folklore and fairy tales. Collect magic pearls to activate character cards and be the first to gather 12 insignias of power.

Links and show notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - M.U.L.E. / Lautapelit

Release Date: Oct. 22 2015

Running Time:  21 min.

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Lautapelit is a Finnish company that distributes and sells games for the Nordic countries. In recent years, they have started publishing games for a worldwide audience with titles like Eclipse and Nations. 

Lautapelit founder Toni Niittymäki chats about the how the company got started and eventually evolved into a publisher.

Designer Heikki Harju also joins us to chat about Lautapelit's newest game M.U.L.E., a board game based on the beloved classic computer game.

Links and show notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - HUCH! & friends

Release Date: Oct. 22 2015

Running Time:  16 min.

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German publisher HUCH! & friends offers a wide variety of games in its catalog from silly fun games for kids and families to games with strategy and depth for older players. 

Tina Landwehr chats about several new titles including:

Flying Kiwis, a game where players use elastic bands to flip cardboard kiwis into a box.

Gum Gum Machine, a game where the board is an adjustable machine players use to create different colored wooden gum tokens.

Tornado Ellie, a where players build a tornado by stacking cards and wooden debris and move it around an ingenious twisting board.

Pronto is a party game where players come up with words that match letters on a race track but here's the twist: the words must also match a specific theme.

Think Str8 is a dice driven deduction game in the spirit of Code 777 and Hanabi. Try to be the first to discover the value of your own cards which everyone but you can see.

Last but not least we learn about HUCH's plans to reprint the entire Gipf series of abstract games starting in 2016!

Links and show notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - Crash Games

Release Date: Oct. 22 2015

Running Time:  17 min.

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Patrick Nickell is off the leash! He joins us to chat about 3 games from Crash.

Where Art Thou Romeo? is a nano game (5 cards!). You take on the role of Juliet trying to decide who amongst the players is Romeo.

Council of Verona: Corruption is an expansion to the popular Shakespearan card game. 21 new corruption cards can be played face up for an instant ability or face down for an end game ability.  

In Pirate Den you play as a legendary captain trying to bury the most treasure by collecting loot from piles of booty each turn.

Links and show notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - Phil Eklund

Release Date: Oct. 22 2015

Running Time:  25 min.

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Designer Phil Eklund is also a rocket engineer. His games emphasize scientific and historical simulation with layers of complexity, research and detail. When you play a Phil Eklund game the goal is for it to be an experience on a grand sweeping scale.

Phil joins us to chat about this unique approach to game design and demonstrates how it applies to his latest game, Neanderthal. You play as one of three human species in Europe during the Ice Age 45,000 years ago. You must guide an entire species by directing males, females and elders toward certain goals: food, language, technology. Choose from several mating strategies: promiscuous, harems, or pair bonding. Collectively, your decisions will help you understand and determine the course of human culture.

Links and show notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - Post Scriptum

Release Date: Oct. 21, 2015

Running Time:  26 min.

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Post Scriptum is an Italian company that has over 10 years of experience in the game industry. They publish games in-house and work as freelance developers, collaborating with small companies and independent designers. 

Games published in-house, like Brick Party, tend to be geared toward families and non-gamers. Games they consult on tend to appeal to a more gamerly crowd.

Founder Mario Sacchi chats about this dual approach to game development. 

Designer Luigi Cornaglia discusses how Post Scriptum helped him publish his first game, Zena 1814.

Links and show notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - Czech Games Edition

Release Date: Oct. 21, 2015

Running Time:   18 min.

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Jana Zemankova chats about several new releases from CGE from heavy strategy to party game and everything in between.

Through The Ages: A New Story of Civilization is a rebalanced edition of the epic stategy game from Vlaada Chvatil. Beginning in the age of antquity, you must guide your civilization to have the most culture at the end of the modern age.

Prodigal's Club is a thematic sequel to Vladimir Suchy's Last Will. Victorian gentlemen race to rid themselves of social status. Try to lose an election, rid yourself of possessions and offend the most influential people in high society in order to win this race to the bottom run of the social ladder.

Codenames is a simple addictive party game playable by any group young or old. Two teams compete to discover which of 25 common everyday words are the codenames for their team's spies. The giver for your team knows the identity of your spies and must give one word clues to help you find them. The better the clue, the more chance you may find multiple spies with a single word. 

Galaxy Trucker: Missions adds scenarios from the digital app to the beloved tile laying space ship building game.

Tash Kalar: Nethervoid introduces a new player deck of demons and gateways to the abstract fantasy battle game.

Links and show notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - Stronghold Games

Release Date: Oct. 21 2015

Running Time:  28 min.

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Stephen Buonocore descends on the padded cell with an impresive list of new titles from Stronghold debuting at Essen

First, Stephen is joined by his podcast pal, designer Ignacy Trzewiczek, to talk about their co-production of Ignacy's game, Stronghold. 

Next we delve into several new games including:

504, the innovative modular design from Friedemann Friese. 

Porta Nigra, a rondel based game by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling about Roman architects working to finish the city's Black Gate.

The Golden Ages, an exploration and civilization building game that emphasizes culture and technology more than conlfict.

New Dawn, a scifi game about reviving and recolonizing a war torn sector of the galaxy set in the Among the Stars universe.

Links and show notes continue after the break.

Essen 2015 - Portal Games

Release Date: Oct. 21, 2015

Running Time:  25 min.

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Polish designer Ignacy Trewiczek chats about treasure trove of new games from Portal. 

First we talk about a new edition of Stronghold, an asymmetrical game about a castle under siege. Since Stronghold was Ignacy's first design, this chance to revisit the game enabled him to streamline the rules and enhance the components which allows the tension and story of this pitched battle to shine through even more.

Convoy is a 2 player card duel game in the post apocalyptic Neuroshima Hex universe. One side commands a Moloch robot army bent on destroying New York. The other controls the Outpost trying to attack the convoy and slow them down.

Legacy: Five Families is an expansion to the base game where players build a family tree in 18th century France. New to the game are Favors which can be granted in exchange for trading family members between players. 

We close with a discussion of Tides of Time, an elegant, strategic 18 card drafting game that depicts the rise and fall of civilizations in 20 minutes.

Links and show notes continue after the break.

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